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Marx at the Margins

On Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Non-Western Societies


With a New Preface

Marx at the Margins

On Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Non-Western Societies


With a New Preface
In Marx at the Margins, Kevin Anderson uncovers a variety of extensive but neglected texts by Marx that cast what we thought we knew about his work in a startlingly different light. Analyzing a variety of Marx’s writings, including journalistic work written for the New York Tribune, Anderson presents us with a Marx quite at odds with conventional interpretations. Rather than providing us with an account of Marx as an exclusively class-based thinker, Anderson here offers a portrait of Marx for the twenty-first century: a global theorist whose social critique was sensitive to the varieties of human social and historical development, including not just class, but nationalism, race, and ethnicity, as well. Through highly informed readings of work ranging from Marx’s unpublished 1879–82 notebooks to his passionate writings about the antislavery cause in the United States, this volume delivers a groundbreaking and canon-changing vision of Karl Marx that is sure to provoke lively debate in Marxist scholarship and beyond. For this expanded edition, Anderson has written a new preface that discusses the additional 1879–82 notebook material, as well as the influence of the Russian-American philosopher Raya Dunayevskaya on his thinking.

344 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2010, 2016

History: History of Ideas

Philosophy: Philosophy of Society

Political Science: Political and Social Theory

Sociology: Social Change, Social Movements, Political Sociology


“A valuable contribution to a rather neglected area of study in Marx’s corpus. . . . In offering an empirically grounded picture of Marx as a ‘global thinker,’ alert to the political import of nationalism, race, and ethnicity, this book forcefully challenges deterministic and Eurocentric representations of Marx and Marxist class analysis.”

Political Studies Review

“Anderson’s exceptional book makes the case for Marxism’s relevance with patience, clarity, and rigor, as well as decisiveness. He leaves us convinced that a politics determined to ally class with race, nationality, and ethnicity in the struggle against imperialism would do well to look again at the work of the founder of this immensely rich intellectual and political tradition. Read this; and then read Capital.”

Journal of Postcolonial Writing

“It is a commonplace that Marx’s materialist conception of history is a simplistic grand narrative, positing a reductive account of historical change and expressing a Eurocentric view of the world. . . . Anderson challenges this view. Paying careful attention to what Marx actually wrote about politics at the peripheries—the margins—of Europe, . . . Anderson demonstrates the richness of Marx’s understanding and the extent to which his mature thinking incorporated a nuanced appreciation of the importance of events and processes beyond the heart of Europe. [Marx at the Margins is] a genuinely innovative book.”

Perspectives on Politics

“Anderson’s survey of a large swathe of Marx’s writings illustrates the volution of Marx’s thinking and the breadth of vision. This is major work which will influence debate and thinking for a long time to come.”

Marx and Philosophy Review of Books

Marx at the Margins is essential reading for anyone seeking to explore the sophistication and complexity of Marx and Engels’s writings on race, nationalism, ethnicity, and the historical development of non-Western societies.”

International Socialist Review

Marx at the Margins is a book of tremendous scope, filled with important scholarly contributions, including Anderson’s highly original reading of Marx’s theory of history. In this truly ground-breaking work, Kevin Anderson analyzes Marx’s journalism and various unpublished writings on European colonialism and the developing countries for the first time, breaking the long-held stereotype that Marx was an incorrigible class and economic reductionist. Well-written in clear and accessible prose, Marx at the Margins proves that Marx is the sophisticated and original theorist of history some might not have ever expected him to be.”

Douglas Kellner, University of California, Los Angeles

“Anderson may just have provided the burgeoning Marx industry with another major focus for its research and debates. Marx at the Margins reveals a dimension of Marx that is very little known and even less understood. Anderson makes an overwhelming case for the importance of Marx’s views on non-Western societies, ethnicity, nationalism, and race to our interpretations of his thinking over a wide range of topics. This is an incredibly innovative, interesting, and terribly important book that will greatly benefit any of its readers.”

Bertell Ollman, New York University

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

1 Colonial Encounters in the 1850s: The European Impact on India, Indonesia, and China
2 Russia and Poland: The Relationship of National Emancipation to Revolution
3 Race, Class, and Slavery: The Civil War as a Second American Revolution
4 Ireland: Nationalism, Class, and the Labor Movement
5 From the Grundrisse to Capital: Multilinear Themes
6 Late Writings on Non-Western and Precapitalist Societies

Appendix. The Vicissitudes of the Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe from the 1920s to Today


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